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Thank you so much for visiting us today here at the CCC blog, Lenora! Can you tell us about your latest release and what inspired you to write the story?
Sleigh Bells Ring came about when my friend Sandie Bricker asked me if I’d be interested in being part of a novella book featuring four sisters in Kentucky. I said yes immediately. In the meantime, Barbara Scott who was already involved with the project, had a chance meeting with Sue Brower who’d just joined up with Gilead Publishing. Sue asked to see the proposal. The rest is very exciting. They wanted the anthology and they wanted it soon. So Sandie Bricker, Barbara Scott, Lynette Sowell and I were soon e-mailing back and forth, working on the plots and brainstorming to make the stories concrete.
Sleigh Bells Ring is about the four Tucker sisters who’ve been estranged from their Marine Corp father. When Tuck dies, he leaves a rundown horse farm to his four grown daughters and soon they are all back home for one last Christmas before they either sell out or stay and fight to keep the home they love. I have the last story—Please Come Home for Christmas. Amy Tucker is the last hold-out but when she meets the man who wants to buy them out, he wins more than he bargained for. He wins Amy heart.
Sounds like a fun collection! Of all your characters in this story, which one did you enjoy writing the most and why?
I loved Amy and her son, Timothy but I have to admit that Dan Wentworth was my favorite character. Dan the Developer, as we like to call him, is a true Kentucky gentleman who works hard and loves to create communities out of land parcels. He’s sweet but down to earth and he falls for Amy and Timothy almost immediately.
Can you tell us about a scene that you wrote and eventually deleted? It’s always fun to know of the little details that didn’t make the cut. :)
I deleted a lot of scenes but at the end of the book, where Dan and Amy grow closer after he shows her a special surprise, I did have to delete a kiss or two. (Too many kisses, my editors warned.) I had rushed things a bit but I wanted these two to find each other. They get it all worked out and they have their HEA!
I didn't know there could be too many kisses. :) How did you decide on the setting/location for this novel?
Sandie and Barbara picked the location but I love Bluegrass Country so I did my research and tried to keep things authentic. I created a café where most of the characters go to eat good Kentucky cooking and found a great old mansion to set Dan’s company offices. I love the elegance and stateliness of horseracing country.
It sounds like a beautiful setting. What made you pick these specific names of your main two characters?
Amy came already named and Dan just seemed like a Wentworth to me. I love to research names and get a feel for them to match my characters’ personalities. Dan the Developer is a true Wentworth. He comes from a wealthy family but he’s down to earth and in spite of his career and a passion for creating beautiful estates, he appreciates perserving the land, too.
It sounds like a great Christmas read. Moving on from your story, tell us a little about yourself. We’ll help! What’s your least favorite household chore and why?
I'm not good at housework, either! What are your hobbies outside of writing?
I love to cook. I enjoy walking on the beach and reading a good book. I love to shoe shop and I enjoy getting together with friends.
The holidays are upon us, and full of events. What is a special holiday tradition you celebrate with your family?
We don’t have a lot of set traditions since my two grown children are both living in other cities now but I always try to make gumbo on Christmas Eve and I love baking cookies and all sorts of Christmas treats. My husband and I have a new tradition where we don’t buy big gifts for each other. Instead, we wait until the day after Christmas and catch things we want on sale. I buy a lot. He buys a little. But it works for us. We are blessed!
After Christmas sales are the best. We talk a lot about faith and how it weaves throughout our fiction, here at the blog. How has your faith affected/or not affected your writing?
My faith is a big part of my writing whether I’m using a faith tone or a more secular tone in my work. I try to show faith, not tell people how to have faith. If my characters organically live their faith and work through their issues with God in the details, my readers will get the message. I receive letters from readers who’ve turned back to their faith or forgiven someone because of my stories. That is what it’s all about to me!
I love seeing how God uses stories to change lives. Tell us a little about a day in the life of you? Wake up time? Lounging in your jammies all day, drinking coffee, living the luxurious life of a writer ;)
My schedule has changed since my children are grown now and my husband is retired. Now I do sip my coffee and watch the morning news with my husband. Then I check e-mail and other social media. We try to walk or ride our bikes if the weather is nice. So I usually get into my office by ten or eleven and I work till around five or five-thirty. I take a quick lunch and I always have a coffee break in the afternoon and go in search of chocolate. :) The luxury is in knowing my office is about five steps from my kitchen!
We have a bit of a war going on here at the CCC blog. Anne and Jaime LOVE coffee and Erica and Gabriella enjoy a joyful cup of tea. What is your preference? Help us break this tie…
Oh, dear. I love both. I love coffee in the morning and I like a good cup of hot herbal tea at night when I finally collapse in my comfy chair and watch some television with my husband. Tea also seems to soothe me if I’m having a bad day. So—coffee for energy and tea for relaxing! I hope this helps in your … er … war!
Unfortunately, it does not. :) And a few fun and quirky questions always reveal of lot from our authors who visit. So, first, if you were to take a boat down the Amazon river, what would you be most interested in seeing?
No snakes or spiders! I’d love to see a big jungle cat. I love lions and tigers but of course, I don’t want one in the boat with me. :)
I don't know who would! :) If you had a choice of living in any era other than the present, what would you choose and why?
That’s tough. I think maybe the turn of the century from the 1800s to the 1900s. That was a time of rapid change in this country and the world. The Industrial Age has always fascinated me. I’d be a bit steampunk, I think!
My favorite time period, too. We’d love you have you share a snippet from your novel to entice us and hook us! :) Please share something below:
Okay, but first, I’d like to remind readers that the three stories ahead of mine are amazing. So I’m giving a shout-out to my companion writers Sandie Bricker, Lynette Sowell and Barbara Scott. Please read the book from start to finish. The stories are interwoven in a lovely way!
This is a scene from the end of the first chapter. My heroine Amy Tucker is struggling with whether or not she should return to the home her estranged father left to her three sisters and Amy:
She’d turn to the Scriptures. Mama had always done that, even on her darkest days.
But all of her mother’s fervent prayers hadn’t saved her own marriage.
When Amy was twenty-five, Marlena Tucker had been killed on the interstate by a drunk driver. She’d left her four daughters to struggle with the horse farm while their unyielding father was off serving his country in a war zone.
Amy didn’t want to return to the place where she had so many bad memories.
No way. She did not plan to go through that kind of pain ever again.
So she rested a hand on the unopened Bible and closed her eyes. “I need help, Lord. I need to find a way to get over all of this and let go of the past . . . and the farm.”
Then she hurried out the door to her second job.
~ ~ ~ ~Thank you for visiting us today, Lenora!
Be sure to visit Lenora on her website, Facebook and Goodreads. You can find Sleigh Bells Ring here.
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